Black mayor elected in Mont­gomery

Orlando Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - By Meagan Flynn

Vot­ers made his­tory in Alabama, elect­ing Steven Reed as the first African Amer­i­can mayor in the city’s his­tory.

Mak­ing his­tory, vot­ers in Mont­gomery, Alabama, de­ci­sively elected Steven Reed on Tues­day as the first African Amer­i­can mayor in the 200 years since the city’s found­ing.

Reed, al­ready a trail­blazer as Mont­gomery County’s first black pro­bate judge, de­feated David Woods, owner of the lo­cal Fox af­fil­i­ate, in a non­par­ti­san runoff elec­tion with 67 per­cent of the vote and all precincts re­port­ing, ac­cord­ing to the un­of­fi­cial re­sults.

“This elec­tion has never been about me,” Reed, 45, said dur­ing his vic­tory speech. “This elec­tion was never about just my ideas. It’s been about all of the hopes and dreams that we have as in­di­vid­u­als and col­lec­tively in this city . . . and the way we found the op­por­tu­nity to im­prove out­comes re­gard­less of neigh­bor­hood, re­gard­less of ZIP code, re­gard­less of any­thing that may di­vide us or make us dif­fer­ent.”

His vic­tory re­ver­ber­ated well be­yond Mont­gomery, as many cel­e­brated the mile­stone in a city re­mem­bered as both the cra­dle of the Con­fed­er­acy and the birth­place of the civil rights move­ment. Mont­gomery, where about 60% of res­i­dents are black, was the first cap­i­tal of the Con­fed­er­ate States of Amer­ica, be­com­ing a bas­tion of racial vi­o­lence and dis­crim­i­na­tion in the Jim Crow era, but also of protests and re­sis­tance in the civil rights era.

It’s home to the Mont­gomery bus boy­cott against seg­re­ga­tion led by Rosa Parks, and it’s home to the Selma to Mont­gomery marches for vot­ing rights led by Martin Luther King Jr. It was in Mont­gomery where, af­ter the third march in March 1965, King ad­dressed a crowd of 25,000 peo­ple on the steps of the Alabama Capi­tol, fa­mously say­ing, “The arc of the moral uni­verse is long, but it bends to­ward jus­tice.”

“This is a his­toric day for our na­tion,” Karen Bay­nesDun­ning, in­terim pres­i­dent of the South­ern Poverty Law Cen­ter, which is based in Mont­gomery, said Tues­day on Twit­ter. “The elec­tion of Steven Reed, the first black mayor of Mont­gomery, AL, sym­bol­izes the new in­clu­sive & for­ward think­ing South that so many have worked to achieve.”

In an op-ed, the Mont­gomery Ad­ver­tiser’s ed­i­tor de­scribed Reed’s win as be­ing “for the thou­sands of civil rights foot sol­diers whose names we rarely say but whose legacy lives for­ever.”

MICKEY WELSH/AP

Mont­gomery Mayor-elect Steven Reed speaks at his vic­tory party. He is Mont­gomery’s first black mayor.

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